It’s so easy to be selfish towards those that are the most giving. I think each of us has or at one point had a Giver in our lives. They are always available, nothing is ever any trouble, and they possess a strange knack of being there when you need them most.
It’s quite difficult to not take advantage of the Givers, even if unintentionally. There’s certainly no lack of appreciation, and there is a tremendous depth of emotion, but reciprocation is often difficult. The Givers always seem to come by their talent naturally. It comes off as effortless. One has to wonder if the Givers are equipped with a secret vault of time and resources to be so darn helpful all the time.
I have Givers in my life. To be honest, I have more of them than I deserve. Oh, and I kind of suck at reciprocity.
One of the biggest Givers I’ve been gifted with is the Moose dog. My Moo-Pie. Our little Schmoopie Moopie. Most dog owners will agree that their dogs are Givers, because they’re always happy to see you, always want to be with you, and are simply happy to make you happy. I’ve got nothing against those dog owners, or their canine companions. However, Moose is different (i.e., better). I’m not biased, I swear.
There are no trade offs with Moose. Going to the lake or creek? SURE! He loves the water. Going to work in the yard? YIPPEE! He loves to be a porch dog. Kids coming over? GREAT! He has a ball hanging out at the playground. Is one of us sick? GOTCHA! He will force himself to go outside once in the morning and once at night, then stay next to his patient the remainder of the day. Road trip? YAY! He loves the car. Food Network marathon? WOOT! He’ll make a day of curling up on the couch. Wanna go for a walk? ABSOLUTELY! Let’s get some fresh air.
He is happy no matter what. He finds a reason and a way to wag that tail every single day.
One little tangent here: a story from the past that will give you some insight into the mind of Moose. When he was a puppy, he would run to the door when anyone said the word “outside”. There was no differentiation between a direct “Wanna go play outside, Moose?” and “Steve, you need to take the garbage outside.” So, utilizing our superior human intellect, we began replacing the word “outside” with spelling “O-U-T”. As if this dog, who clearly associated the two-syllable word “outside” with the door, could be fooled for more than a couple days by the switch to the three-syllable “O-U-T”. Yes, we’re geniuses (dumbasses).
Everyone who knows me even a little bit, or reads this blog at all, knows that Moose is an old man now. He recently turned 12, which is well past his expected lifespan. He has severe hip dysplasia, and just in the past couple of weeks, he’s developed a “click” when he walks. That is the sound of a ball joint snapping against a socket when he moves. His eyesight is compromised, and I suspect complete blindness is not far away. His appetite is only a fraction of what it once was, resulting in about 20% reduction in his body weight over the past year. He can’t get in and out of the car any longer without a ramp and some help from his humans.
The hip leaves him in pain often. We give him aspirin, and joint support supplements, and vitamins, and cherry extract, and anti-inflammatories, and all sorts of stuff. If it’s especially bad, we give him the pain pills from the vet, but they make him woozie and he is more likely to take a fall after one of those, so we try to not do that. He still tries to follow me from room to room during the day. My office is in the basement, the kitchen/living/dining area is on the main floor, and my bedroom is on the second floor. That’s lots of stairs. I try to tell him to stay when I run up to the kitchen to grab a coffee, but normally when I’m on my way back down, he’s hobbled half way up the steps. Some days I work from the back deck so he can just lounge on the porch and keep an eye on me when I step into the kitchen. Some days I work from the couch so he can snuggle up next to me.
Winter is coming. Winter is hard on him. The cold combined with the dampness has had a noticeable effect on him the last few years. I don’t want Winter to come this year.
Just this evening, Steve brought up acupunture. Should we try it for him? Would it help?
Help. Help is a curious word. Would it help whom with what?
Would it help Moose feel better? Maybe. Temporarily.
Would it help US feel better? Would it make us feel like we’re doing everything we can for him? Probably. Even if it doesn’t work. Even if we make him tolerate the ride to Springfield and the discomfort of acupuncture for nothing. Would it help us avoid the discussion of how much longer we let him limp through the day and whimper through the night? Would it make us feel less selfish because we don’t want to even talk about the end of Moose’s life? We’ve faced this decision 3 times before, with Bug, Harley, and Echo. I didn’t falter when those times came, and it was the right choice.
I don’t want to make the decision. Not this time. Not with Moose. I don’t want him to suffer, and I don’t want to lose one good day with him. I don’t want to be responsible for the end of his life. I want to wake up one morning and find that he’s died peacefully during the night, snuggled into his bed. I want him to be the Giver one more time, by making sure his passing is quick, painless, and totally not my decision.
Like I said, it’s easy to be selfish towards those that are the most giving.
I hope my dog dies in his sleep. That’s shameful and cowardly and unscrupulous and gutless and 100% honest truth.